Friday, August 06, 2004

Keep on your toes

How did miss this? Earlier this week a local NGO and the authorities launched a campaign in Espirito Santo state (the small, forgotten one between Rio and Bahia) against the buying of votes in the run-up to the October poll. Probably just as well, since the experience of Espirito Santo is a pretty sorry one.

In March last year a state deputy, Jose Carlos Gratz, was put under investigation for buying the votes of other deputies in his bid to become president of the state legislature. As far as I can tell, there doesn't seem to be any outcome on that investigation.

And just when it couldn't get worse for Gratz, in April of this year a public prosecutor indicted him, four other state deputies, 15 former members of the legislature and the ex-governor, Jose Ignacio Ferreira. Their crime? Apparently 'administrative impropriety'. They stand accused of transferring R$37m (£7.4m in today's money) from a state fund dedicated towards development loans in favour of paying off public sector workers whose salaries were late.

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